Thursday, April 26, 2012

Carries Sunshine Goat

I can finally post this painting that I did for my beautiful daughter-in-law.
Carrie's Sunshine Goat
Painted on 8x8 canvas in acrylic. 
We were graciously given an impromptu tour of a farm a few years back where they had a variety of goats, some of which were fainting goats. Is this a fainting goat, I think so but cannot be a hundred percent sure as the updated version of iPhoto cannot read notes from the older iPhoto. So I conclude that computers make more work, not save on workload. All my paintings and photos had pertinent info saved to the notes which transferred to the discs which this newer version cannot decipher. Photos come up but  titles, sizes, info is poof! So what I now propose I do is after photographing my work is to print out the image with all the pertinent info so that I have a tried and true method of saving information. Back to the basics of paper and pencil.
While in university I enrolled in a museum studies program and it was interesting to find out then that technology i.e. computer saving systems and retrievals have aptly lost much information due faulty disc, eroded discs, etc that at the time museums were going back to the quality method of pencil and paper, after all we know that good paper lasts a few hundred years.
Anyhow, back to Carrie's sunshine goat. I painted the goat amidst native prairie sunflowers as they are so cheerful. I just love the sunflowers. We planted some common native sunflower plants outside the back entry this year and I can hardly wait till they shoot up and pour forth blossoms. Last year while out photographing flowers at the Edmonton Naturalization Garden I noticed that Goldfinch love the seeds. So we also planted some in the back side yard where I like to sit. I was warned they spread quite well by tuberous roots so by the back entry we will need to put down some edging to keep them contained so I can plant some other flowers as well, but in the back side yard they can have their way.
have a wonderful day, hugs!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

If it itches

 If it itches...

On our way home yesterday from delivering painting to Calgary we headed east of the city and were blessed to be able to watch American Avocets, Black-necked Stilts and Tundra Swans on a large body of water between Calgary and Strathmore. There were many other skilled aviators present such as pin-tail, red-head, and canvas-back ducks which were far out of camera range. I did have one killdeer, one Willet an I believe a Greater yellow-legs fly past me.
I had strained my back once again so had to shoot from the road while Gerald was able to go down into the ditch and hide behind a fence post. Needless to say he ended up getting far better shots than I as mostly the distance was a mite to far a reach for my 300m lens and when the birds were in good shooting range there were two fences blocking clear shots as you can see below.
I got pretty excited though as I've been wanting to see black-necked stilts for some time now so it was wonderful to take an hour to watch them feed and flit about. It made for a nice break from driving.
I find this shot interesting as the American Avocet on the left has blue-gray legs, The black-necked Stilt in center has pink legs and on the right is I believe a Greater Yellow Legs, hence has yellow legs. What a colourful trio. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Hugs!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Camera, New Adventures

My sweetie bought me a new Canon 7D and a quality Manfrotto pan-head for my mono-pod. I am pleased to announce Don's Photo is now our go-to camera store. The staff and manager there are fabulous, we had good laughs, received good information and, wow, we were treated with upmost respect and courtesy. Wow. After messy dealings and disrespect throughout last year from a previous #@*& camera store of which I had been a faithful buyer for ten years I can honestly say that switching to Don's Camera was a refreshing experience to say the least.

Now the learning begins once again.
Here are a few images taken this weekend, enjoy!
Blue-bluest blue bird having an afternoon snack.
Amazing rich coloration in the male Mountain Bluebird.

Northern Harrier, male.
Its unbelievable to watch Harriers hunt. They actually hover on thin air like a sky strung mobile. I've noticed that they seemingly stop and hang with their tail-feathers spread, fanned wide as in above photo; otherwise when they fly their tail-feathers are tight together as in the below image. They are also masters of low surface skimming flights, wingtips seemingly grazing the straw strewn fields as they search out gopher holes from above.

The Odd couple. 
It would seem these two are differing subspecies (see differing neck length and thickness) but they don't care what anyone thinks, they have each other and love bonds them together. Watching geese this early in the season made me realize that for geese fore-play is a joint venture of frenzied head dunking and splashing and these two gave quite the performance. See the water droplets.

 Split Ears Jack.
Jackie Rabbit sporting the new fashion craze of clipped ears and wearing a lovely short sheared hip-length tan jacket with white hare pantaloons. Ah, spring is here.

Resident Robins have returned, I hear them calling in the wee hours before daylight. Its a joy to wake to birdsong, much nicer than alarm clocks for sure. Just look at the vibrant colour of the beak, by summer it will subdue to a soft pale yellow or greyish coloration.

Have a wonderful week, enjoy the natural and give yourself a hug.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Beautiful and Surreal

Sunday we woke to blowy snowy sleet, choice was stay home and warm or make peppermint tea and biscuits and go out birding.
 A twitching wonderful time in a surreal dreamy misty landscape.

Seems as though all the birds have arrived at once. Migration is in full swing, this was a mixed flock of American Tree Sparrows, Juncos, a few Robins and some small birds I could not identify.
Suddenly quiet, the small birds seemed to vanish in an instant.

The reason why, this Harrier hunting the fence line. The snowfall layered the air in soft gauze; quite dreamy. The Redtail hawks are back and apparently the Harriers never left as winter season was quite warm with food plentiful.

Junco on the bottom left and American Tree Sparrows.

Flights of snowbird delight, I thought Snow Buntings would have headed north by now so this was an aerial treat.
Irruptions of introduced starlings abounded, though no good photos as once they dove into the stubble they resembled dirt clods. Though I love their reflecting rainbow colour it is sad that starlings and house sparrows (another introduced species) tend to push out native birds. If nothing else man sure has been prolific at altering and unbalancing ecosystems.

Gaggles of Geese, look at these silly ones waddling down the road.

 Murder of crows.

We saw fields filled with hundreds of robins, I love their bright yellow-orange spring beaks. 

And who else do we find, one lone beautiful tail wagging Meadow lark.
Such a beautiful day. With wind gusts and sleet which stung the face I had to hide against the lee side of the car to get this shot and it was all worth it.

My textile piece is now in Calgary and will be hung soon, thank you so much Diane for taking it on since we had to cancel our trip south. I love being a member of Emmaus Fine Art Group, even though distance sometimes present a few glitches with getting pieces to Calgary it seems that Creator always places someone in our lives to help out. Life is good and friends are a blessing.
Enjoy the wonders of spring.